Have Couch, Will Travel: A blog about psychology and law enforcement

Cleaning out my office

August 25, 2011

Tags: memories, the past, keeping stuff, clinging, Louise Erdrich poem

I am cleaning out my office, My husband carries stacks of books, papers, and photo albums to the recycling bin. Crumbled bits of corsages stick to my fingers like brittle confetti. Boxes of my mother's papers and photographs have been sitting in a closet since her death ten years ago. She was an energetic archivist. I sort through her annotated address books, records of my childhood vaccinations, report cards from elementary school, and individual photos of the hundreds of paintings my father made, one a day for eleven years after his stroke. What was she thinking when she checked off the names of students performing with me in a school play? Why did she request an written evaluation of my adjustment at summer camp? (I am relieved to learn that I am not slowing down with age, my counselors said I was slow getting ready for bed and always brought up the rear on hikes.) (more…)